We saw Zidane at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Screening Room last night. The room is not large, maybe 200 seats, and was packed, largely with soccer teams and their coaches. We were two of a few “civilians.”
I expected to see the familiar number 10 of the French national team, and of course, the famous head butt. But no, seventeen cameras focus on Zinedine Zidane for an entire, regular season soccer match, Real Madrid vs. Villareal, April 23, 2005. Zidane wears number 5 for Real Madrid.
This is an amazing film. For me, it defines the art of the motion picture. IMDb mentioned it as a “conceptual art installation.”
What we see on the big screen is Zidane; his face, his head, the back of his neck, his torso, his feet, sometimes his whole body. He stands, jogs, runs, handles the ball, whatever the match situation calls for. He sweats, spits, blows his nose, says very little. His expression rarely changes. We see Zidane assist on a goal as he kicks the ball across the face of the goal, to be scored on a header by a teammate. It is one of the few instances where the camera follows the ball. We see a few brief shots of a black and white video monitor and a few brief shots from the stadium roof, otherwise we don”t see the match, just Zidane. From time to time, quotes from Zidane interviews are shown as subtitles.
The film is in real time, and at half-time, news clips of things going on in the world on that day, are shown.
The sound may be even more amazing. We hear in turn, silence, the roar of maybe 80,000 rabid soccer fans, the thunk of his foot against the ball, the skidding sound of the ball on the turf, footsteps digging in the turf, a musical monotone building and fading as the action warrants.
I found the film a joy; I delighted in the clarity of the pictures moving before me. I felt as if I were in a photo gallery, passing from one photograph to the next, always thrilled by the image at hand. I was mesmerized. Carol was bored silly.
Zidane played at Sundance last year, but has not secured distribution in the US.